Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) | Brouwerij Het Anker

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Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue)Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue)

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Het Anker

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-03-2002

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Reviews: 884 | Ratings: 1,819
Photo of reignsong
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer!

The aroma, as described by others, has malty and spicy undertones. I drink this very slowly, and enjoyed sniffing it between sips. It's the Gingerbread House of beers in scent.

The flavor is that nice molasses and malt, but the yeast/alcohol smacks it into shape to keep the palate clean upon every sip. The predominant flavor is a mild butterscotch with the base of a good stout. Very smooth and filling, like a big juicy burger.

I had one bad bottle (which was still better than most), but it was stored sideways for a few weeks before opening, and I'm sure that was the problem. I've had several bottles, and they've keep very well. In fact I have one 2007 that I don't plan on opening for a long time.

Dark beer loathers, and pilsner quaffers need not apply! This is exactly the antithesis of lighter beers, in my opinion.

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Photo of dougnboston
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been following this beer for a few years. It's very consistant year-to-year and just wonderful.

They brew it just once a year, on February 24th and invite the public to help ... just show up at 8 AM with a cup of coffee and they'll put you to work! Very cool.

If you enjoy a stong, flavorful, dark beer ... this will take you all the way there.


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Photo of gimmehead
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: 2003 vintage consumed 6/15/05

A rich, burgundy brown hued brew with a soft, sticky beige head that lasts forever and lovingly coats the glass. Smell is very sweet; candy sugar and buttery malts, cotton candy springs to mind. I just couldn't get enough of the aroma, I stuck my face in the chalice and breathed deeply for the better part of half an hour. It has a beautiful estery, vinous quality which fades to rich sweetness and hints of lush dark fruits. Amazing. If it tastes like it smells I'm afraid I'll weep. Nothing for it but to part lips and pour... sweet mercy, it does! Holding back sobs of joy I enjoy the soft vinous character, the ripe apples and cherries. The buttery malts and candy sugar are toned down a bit compared to the nose but still very flavorful. The finish is very winey and has a perfect alcohol warmth. The mouthfeel is perfect as well, thick and substantial with some soft carbonation tickle. Just right.

I have never reviewed a beer as a perfect 5 before, and I do so with some trepidation. How can a beer be perfect? Can it not be improved upon? Questions that I don't take lightly. The only answer I can come up with is that this is simply the best beer I've ever had. Every aspect was perfect in my mind: sweetness, fruityness well blended alcohol, etc. This is the standard to which I'll hold all Quads and Belgian Strong Darks to. The bar is set.

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Photo of ales4baldo
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

P-Nice medival sketch with man on horse.

A-Poured it delicately because i wanted less head and more to drink! Pours a hazy dark wood brown. Head is soft and slowly goes away.

S-Just a rush of alcohol to the nostril. Tons of Belgian candy and yeast and malts. Cinnamon and stints of bourbon like.

T-Pure heaven. At first you get a nice heavy sweetness that slowly subdues behind the alcohol and then the malts and yeast rise in and fill nicely. Low carbonation and more flat but its perfect.

M-Feels really silky and smooth. Full bodied yet soft with beautiful notes of Belgian candy. Finishes clean and nice and makes you urge for another sip.

O-This is my favorite beer of all time and ive had many! Just a beautiful well rounded beer that has so much to offer.

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Photo of BeerNutta
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 Vintage

A = Poured into chalice with a deep dark brown colour and thin foam head.

S = Sweet rich smell of prunes and blackcurrant with a hint of alcohol.

T = Big malt flavour. You can also taste prunes and sultanas. Slight bitter finish. So so slight. Delicious.

M = Medium bodied with a warming alcohol finish that leaves you warm and satisfied. Amazing

D = Very VERY drinkable.

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Photo of Philly82785
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(2008 bottle) Pours like a cola with a slight red tint; very minimal carbonation. Has a spicy taste that flows off the palate. The only beer that remotely resembles this one is the Delirium Noel for is spiciness.This has a fantastic lingering finish.

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Photo of Moon2Goddess
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had the 2009 at my Belgian tasting last night, and it was the star of the show. To those of you who are storing your 2009, I say it is at its prime right now!

Color: Like a golden maple syrup that has been heated and has started to thin and bubble.

Head: Soft tan, average linger time for this type of beer.

Aroma: Like going to my favorite candy and caramel corn store and smelling licorice nibs, milk chocolate, toffee, caramel, and roasted pecans dipped in maple sugar. In other words fantastic!

Texture: A divine coating on your tongue and the roof of your mouth, just the right amount of carbonation, chewy and delightful.

Flavor & Balance: The alcohol burn that is present in the 2010 is completely smooth in this one. The balance of flavors is superlative. Distinctive Belgian malt, rum, maple, caramel, vanilla, biscotti, milk chocolate, pecans, raisins, delectable yummy after another!

Sustained Taste: Nice lingering of booze, maple, licorice and vanilla. Seriously, there is just no room for improvement.

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Photo of jtothamo
5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Suggestion: The bottle purchased is large...several servings. So, it's best shared among friends or to be consumed by a "seasoned pro".

A- A beautiful maple syrup brownish color. A beautiful off-white, airy head.

S- Incredible! Fruity, with hints of alcohol, and reminders of the woods. In fact, my wife who is not a beer drinker (she prefers cosmo's) mentioned, "Wow, that smells amazing!"

T- Superb! For the ABV, it goes down extremely smooth. Just a beautiful blend of the ingredients. Incomparable!

M- Playful! A good amount of carbonation that tickles the mouth and throat. But, also extremely smooth.

D- This ale is amazing!

This beer, referred to by many as Grand Cru of the Emperor, is by far one of my favorite beers. Due to the price and ABV, it's not an every day beer. But, it's excellent for special occasions! I am thankful to have been introduce to this beer by a friend!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Dark, reddish-brown in color with a gorgeous head. This one looks serious.

Smell - This is grand cru heaven. The malt base is covered in sweet toffee, caramel, and orange flavors that are big as Mt. Rainier. The brown sugar sweetness is almost palatable on the nose.

Taste - This is perfection. The deep, sweet flavors of brown sugar, orange, liquid toffee, and caramel meld together in an incredible blend. The slightly toasted malt flavors are there as well, but this is all about that sticky, sweet taste of sugary perfections that is the Belgian Grand Cru. There's also just a hint of alcohol notes to warn of the typically high 10.0 ABV.

The chewy nature of this flavor is complimented by hearty plums, some tobacco, thick, rich apricots, and maybe even some apples. This is sugar at its best.

Mouthfeel - The slight carbonation, in accordance with the style, is complimented by the amazing buttery smoothness of the sugary ingredients.

Drinkability - If you have a sweet tooth and love fine Belgian ales, this is the one for you. God forbid you should be a Grand Cru fan - you HAVE to try this ale.

Comments - The label reads, "Gouden Carolus," over the top and, "Carolus D'or," on the bottom. There's a blue banner with gold writing that looks to be labeled diagonally across the bottle, although it is clearly part of the manufactured label, that reads, "Grand Cru of the Emperor." This is indeed fit for royalty.

Update - I popped a vintage 2000 in 2004. The aroma is even deeper than when it was fresh, but the flavors were washed out a bit. The musty, dirty, cellared flavors though were a delight. Four years is probably too old for this guy; maybe two or three max. It has been my experience that Grand Crus are usually good fresh and almost always peak at a year or two in the cellar.

Update - I had a 2005 at the end of the 2005 year. I'm convinced that this brew should not be cellared.

Fresh this is absolutely incredible! It's really one of the best beers that I've ever had. It represents exactly to me what I think of when hearing the term "grand cru". It's thick yet super sweet. It is incredibly complex. It melts in your mouth. It makes you feel like a king.

Update - I had a 2010 in 2010 just to test my theory that Grand Crus are really just cellared BSDAs and I think I proved my point. This is smooth, well-aged, with even some musty characters, and is incredibly drinkable after just a few months in the bottle.

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4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brewed in 2008. Ten and a half ounce pour, served in a tulip. $8 and worth every penny. I've seen cases of 750's for $115 and the purchase is a looming consideration.

A: BEAUTIFUL! Dark, cloudy garnet body. Small tan head fizzes out quickly. No lacing. I can look past the small head and lack of lacing since I'm not sure these qualities ever stood a chance really. Besides, the richness and depth of the body alone more than make up for it. This beer wants to be still. A vigorous swirl will bring about a small head but, within seconds, it will be gone again.

S & T: Incredible complexity, somehow intense but extremely delicate at the same time. Malt forward. Toasty. Aroma is of molasses and dark, overly ripe alcohol soaked fruits: Raisins, prunes, plums & dates. Brown sugar plus caramel mixed with a moderate amount of earthy spiciness which showcases the clove. Harmonious blend of ALL flavors. At 11%, it's no surprise and not to a fault, that a warm yet soft alcohol flavor/aroma comes through a bit. Perfect.

M: Smooth, velvety, plush. Admirable alcoholic warmth and mouth coating sweetness is perfectly balanced by the champagne-esque effervescence. Semi cloying, creating an incredibly long lasting flavor duration.

D: Each sip is better than the last. This brew is single-handedly responsible for my recent pursuit of BSDA's. Unfortunately for me, nothing has even come close to stacking up to this. As I'm sure my score will reflect, this is my all time favorite beer.

Note: I've had the bottled version from 2009 as well which was not nearly as impressive. This brew improves SIGNIFICANTLY with age. Draft might be important as well.

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Photo of Pingotas
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Deep, rich obscure hues with some reluctance to head up heavily. Long lacing. Roasted brown sugars dominate the subtle aroma.

The assault of vine fruits and very ripe bananas are immediate on the tongue; however, each taste brings added overtones of flavors as complex as citron, cardamom, name a few.

Absolutely delicious, particularly since I tend to favor this degree of sweetness - it provides a velvety, almost syrupy smoothness that carries delicately over the fine carbonation.

I would accept purgatory for this one, a truly masterful preparation and clearly one of the best brews I have ever tasted!

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Photo of ypsifly
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Corked and caged 750 from the '05 vintage, poured into a chalice.

Deep brown with a light tan head that stays at two fingers for a while before it leaves thick foam inside the glass.

Spicy yeast, clove, coriander, lemon zest, toffee, figs, powdered sugar, leather and licorice. Just a touch of peppery alcohol underneath. Lots going on here....outstanding!

Figs, plums, licorice, holiday spices, earth, cloves, cookie dough, brown sugar, and a finish that starts out sweet but fades into slightly bitter with a dry aftertaste. Slight pepper at the end as well, but this is the closest flavor to alcohol that registers....WOW!!! This one earns a five, no doubt. So much going on here. The mouthfeel is full and velvety. Really glides over my tongue and seeks out every nook and cranny in my mouth without being chewy or leaving any syrup. 10% abv or not, I could drink this all night, but I would force myself to sip and savor.

I have a new favorite belgian. Do your soul a favor and get a bottle of this ASAFP!!!!

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Photo of phisig137
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is quite possibly the best beer I have ever consumed. Absolutly perfect in every way as far as I'm concerned. I had a couple bottles last year (2004), and I think that the 2005 is slightly better. I bought one bottle this year the first time I saw it, and it was so good that I went back the next day and purchased a whole case! (It comes in a really sweet wooden crate too)

Mouthfeel is exceptional, with flavors of dark dried fruits, caramel, and a slight hint of mocha. This beer hides it's alcohol exceptionally well, but still will warm you from the insides out. The aroma is dominated by sweet caramel, with hints or raisons and dates shining through. Head dissapates relatively quickly, but a fair amount of lacing remains. While most belgians (doubles, triples, any really) should be served mostly warm, I enjoy chilling this one, and letting it develop as it warms.

When I bought the twelve bottle case, I removed the heavy duty staples from the lid, and opened it to make sure that everything looked OK on the inside. I then used nails to re-seal the case, and don't plan on opening it for at LEAST 3 years. The info sheet I found inside the case lists the shelf life of this beer in a cellar as "10+ years". After tasting it, I plan to buy a full case every year, and to start a vertical tasting every year with some good friends.

Honestly though.... this beer is pure nirvana. I find it to be similar in flavor and character to Rochfort 12, but for some reason, I give the edge to the Cuvee Van De Keizer. Simply the best beer in the world. Unmatched in every category as far as I'm concerned!

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.95/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Very dark plum color with some dark ruby hues on the edge. Fairly large, creamy, sticky, toasted marshmallow colored head. Decent retention and a beautiful layer of creamy, sticky lace.

S - Plenty of dark fruit consisting of plum, raisin, and date. Nice sweetness as well with molasses, dark candi sugar, licorice/anise, and a touch of bubblegum. Well spiced with clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of coriander. Hints of rum/brandy soaked fruit as well. Some dark malt and a touch of breadiness make the base. Pretty complex aroma.

T - Good mix of dark fruit, spice, and sweet bread flavors throughout the sip. Similar to the nose. Starts with a strong dark, spiced fruit at first. Mid sip has a strong licorice and bubble gum flavor come out. The dark fruit then comes on strong at the end with a bit more of a rum/brandy flavor to it. The sweet bready flavor is a nice persistent undertone throughout the sip.

M - Medium, maybe slightly toward full, body. Has a lush, creamy, persistent kind of feel to it though. Good amount of carbonation.

D - Well balanced and complex beer with a great mix of flavors that had me wanting to drink more. I could see it potentially being a little too sweet/cloying, but I like sweeter beers on occasion and I think it works for the style.

Notes: Vintage 2009. Great beer that is very complex and has a lot of bold, big flavors. Inclusion of licorice and bubblegum flavor is interesting for the style. I really liked the beer, like I said before, some may think it is a bit too sweet, but it makes a great dessert or night caper (although I could see me drinking this other times too!).

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Photo of Brushkanna
4.95/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am drinking desert. This is as far away from a traditional beer as I have had. I’m a novice when it comes to Belgian dark strong ales. The Grand Cru of the Emperor pours with a short creamy head, there are great strong flavors of sweet dark raisins, caramel, brown sugar & hints of fine chocolate.

My wife who likes darker sweeter beers said, "this is the best beer ever". Some have said that the high ABV was noticeable and a negative but I did not get that feeling. It has 11% ABV but it fits well, reminds me of a fine desert wine.

We really enjoyed this beer I will be looking for it again as a great holiday treat.

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Photo of Bisho
4.94/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This Christmas/Quad/BSDA brew knocked my socks off (and the missus too!) We were not expecting this complex beer to be challenging the famous Rochefort 10 for the mantle but it sure matched it!

Poured from a 750ml bottle into two tulips. It has a deep ruby red appearance and leaves a little lacing but not too much in the way of carbonation.
The smell was of sweet burnt caramel and toffee.
The taste was just as gorgeous as the sweet smell. It is big and slightly chewy but never cloying and has a nice dry spice on the finish. Impeccably balanced throughout and the high ABV is hidden pretty well too.
This helped us to turn two of these things into a session :)
I have 6 more of these 2009 Vintage stored away and plan on pulling one out each year to see how it evolves.
You must get yourself a few of these if like me, you love this type of complex brew.

Update: After staying at the brewery in 2011, I managed to send home a mixed case of 2009 & 2010 vintages. I have since sat down to enjoy seeing how they have evolved over the years. I still collect at least 4 of each vintage back home in Australia each year so I can continue my ageing journey. The 2009 opened recently is probably almost past it. Not as good as it was two years ago. The 2010 is borderline too. The 2011 is at it's peak and probably the best damn bier I have ever enjoyed. Cracked a 2012 just last week and I am in heaven! 2014 vintage has just hit my favourite store and I am about to outlay a small fortune for another six of them. Cheers!

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Photo of kevinlater
4.94/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 vintage, best before jun 18 2024, consumed mar 20 2016. 11% abv, but the lcbo has insisted on putting a sticker on the bottle that says 9.1% abv. uh, alright. dull brown with bone-hued head. excellent nose of rich brown sugar, creme brulee, toasted marshmallow, plums, and dates, with a mild and complementing alcohol aroma. decadent, sweet, and layered malt profile in the taste with the aforementioned fruit flavours in the background. some slight toasted coconut and milk chocolate flavours. really sweet and delicious all around. low yeasty spice presence. somewhat reminiscent of a whisky due to the melange of alcohol and caramel. medium feel with tame carbonation for a belgian ale, and a mild bitterness on the finish. such a phenomenal and lovable beer that has the best malt flavours!

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Photo of silverblaze540
4.94/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Dark brown, minimal light seeping through. Small cream colored head, dissipates quickly. Active bubbles.

S - Malt, dates, prunes, rains, cherry, sweetness.

T - Very sweet and malty. All the fruity smells come through in the taste. Minimal alcohol taste and almost no bitterness.

M - Some carbonation burn, very smooth.

O - Wonderfully tasty beer. Even non-beer drinkers could enjoy this one.

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Photo of desertcom1
4.93/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I consider this one of my favorite sipping beers. The Belgians have been brewing beer for hundreds of years and I think they nailed this one for a BSDA. I totally understand why they call this the "Grand Cru of the Emperor". This heavy bodied beer pours a dark ruby red with a fine frothy head. It has a complex taste of caramelized malts, raisins and figs come to mind, maybe a little cardamon with a pinch of allspice. This beer/wine is intended to be drunk at around 52 to 54 degrees F. I know we Americans like ice cold beer but this really goes down good at that temperature. I honestly can't get enough of this beer. My hats off to Charles Leclef of the Van Breedam family for introducing this beer in 1999. Thanks Charlie, keep it com'en.

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Photo of dstc
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours very dark with ruby highlights. Big foamy head that fell to nothing with little to no lace.

Smells very sweet and malty. Yummy.

Big sweet malts, raisins, plums and brandy come to mind. Nice alcohol finish. Just perfect.

Full and smooth in the mouth with a nice alcohol bite.

My favorite at the moment, almost the perfect beer. Hell, maybe it is the perfect beer.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

75 cl. bottle from 2003. Has a ruby brown hue with an off white head. Massive fruity aroma of raisons, plums, pudding bread, and dark caramels. The flavor profile runs the spectrum, from malty caramel, vanilla extracts, to raisons, dates, and Hawaiian sweet bread. All this wrapped in a smooth, medium body. Finishes with a warming alcohol mellowness.

This brew is carbonated cognac; Excellent.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Very nice dark brown body, hazy, with visible carbonation. Head raises up about 1/2" fades slow, leaving a thin creamy layer on top of the beer.

Smell: Strong and sweet, grape-fruitiness, slightly woody.

Taste: Rich and fruity, malt is big, very big, with brown sugar. Fantastic and complex, toffee and cream, spicy and bold.

Drinkability: Excellent a smooth sipper that is very tasty on the way down. I bet this one would age excellently, and mellow even more than it already is. Fantastic.

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Photo of StoutPiper
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I can't say this is my favorite beer, because (depending on what mood I'm in) I could feel a good Imperial stout is the best, and another day i crave a good hoppy IPA. But, if you want a belgian ale, this is the best beer I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.

I've only had it once, and i can't find it again, i got it somewhere in NJ, but it was an amazing experience. The beer poured a dark brown, with a respectable head, and lacing you would expect from a perfect belgian ale. the smell fits the beer, strong, spicy, nutty, cinnamon-y, it was a true experience.

The taste followed suit. It was borderline quadrupel, because it was such a bold taste, but i got everything from cherries to almonds out of it, the taste varying from sip to sip.

If i could find this beer again, i would buy several cases and drink it almost exclusively. Again, i cannot emphasize enough how much i enjoyed this beer. Worth a try or seven!

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Photo of King_KongDCO93
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Having a 2003 bottle oh my goodness the cork was aching to get out. At bottling was was at 10% ABV

A: Dark Belgian brow color that you can't see through but now the

Smell: aroma is AMAZING!!! Fruity and floral more complex than traditional Belgian beers

Taste: incredibly smooth for how old this beer is. Nice notes of caramel, toasted malts, and fruit. Really got a lot of dark fruits flavors mixed in with mild bitterness complex of a pungent Belgian quad.

Mouthfeel: wet

Overall: all around great Belgian beer. Verdict A+

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Photo of DogFood11
4.9/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is simply one of the greatest beer I've ever consumed. I was looking through the coolers at Naja's in Redondo Beach and was deciding between a saison and a grand cru. Jason the owner suggested this is a perfect nightcapper BOY WAS HE RIGHT!!! Pour is so silky just like the mouthfeel it curls its way around every taste bud. some chocolaty/fruity aroma's. A full flavored boquet ready for gobbling. I just about fell of my bar stool after the first drink I was so impressed (or buzzed). Nutty up front with a malty/rich body that finishes sweet/Fruity with a slight bitter cleansing. I don't know how they could improve this beer as it is fit for an emperor. I will now go on a quest to get one of my local stores to order a case for me. I will beg, barter, bribe.

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Cuvée Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) from Brouwerij Het Anker
4.29 out of 5 based on 1,819 ratings.
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